The Six Word Rule and Banner Advertising

It probably goes without saying that you want your banners and window advertisements to be effective, right? You want to grab customers’ attention, you want a successful promotion, you want high return on your investment. With that in mind, you’re going to need to maximize your banner’s impact. That’s where the six-word rule comes in.

Six Word Rule and Banner Advertising
Keep copy short and let your images tell the story.

That starts with building your promotion around a very simple rule of thumb for outdoor advertising: Hold all text to six words or less. The six-word rule, which was originally created for roadside billboard ads, translates perfectly to window stickers and other banners. You have a limited amount of time to grab your customers’ attention, so you’ll have to work quickly as they stroll – or even worse, drive – past your banner.

That means you’ll need to get creative with you copywriting. Even if you’re experienced promoting your business in print, direct mail or online, this can be tricky. Generally, follow these rules to help keep your word count down in banners:

  • Avoid Direct Response: There’s absolutely no way a customer on the move will be able to read, let alone remember your phone number or a cryptic web address. Leave these elements out, and rely on your banner to merely promote awareness.
  • Stay On Point: Mixing messages is rarely a good idea when advertising, but on a banner, it’s critical. Identify what you want customers to know, and don’t deviate from that.
  • A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words: It’s a cliché, but it really works in banner and window-decal design: A well picked image will immediately connect and convey a message with customers. Use them to convey the messages your short headlines can’t.
  • Make Them Want More: You’d think that should be easy when working in a six-word limit, but it’s easy to get distracted. Your banner or decal isn’t informational sales material. It’s inspiration to find out more – or stop by your location – about your product, service or event. Let your sales staff and other marketing material do the heavy lifting.

Our staff of designers is a great resource for helping you work within the six-word rule, and our handy letter visibility chart can help you gauge the size of the font you need to make an impact on any banner. Call us at 970.223.2124 for help developing your banners.